APIs are the first built using new strategy and infrastructure

In 2020, OCLC completed work on a cloud-based API infrastructure to support a new strategy that elevates APIs to a first order of concern when we build our products. With this API strategy, all new OCLC APIs will share fundamental building blocks, like design patterns and authentication, to create a more seamless experience across OCLC services. It will also make more of our capabilities and data accessible via APIs so our developer community can build custom solutions and integrations more easily.

New versions of the WorldCat Search and Metadata APIs were developed using this API strategy, laying the foundation for future OCLC APIs, like the WorldCat Discovery API 2.0 that will be released later this year.

Building blocks create a more consistent experience

The WorldCat Search API 2.0 and Metadata API 1.1 share code and other components that will be used for future OCLC APIs, ensuring a more seamless experience:

  • Both APIs are RESTful, use a uniform data model and OAuth 2.0 for authentication, and exchange data via JSON.
  • Both APIs allow for dynamic discovery of shared print retention data from your own and other libraries through searches of bibliographic and holdings data.
  • The WorldCat Search API 2.0 uses the same search indexes and relevance and result ranking as other OCLC products and services, such as WorldCat Discovery and WorldShare Record Manager.

New APIs enhance search and shared print discovery

The WorldCat Search API 2.0 includes access to facets, user language preferences, record grouping, and extensive filter parameters, and can also be used to search local holdings data, library demographic data, and library groups.

The WorldCat Metadata API 1.1 can be used to directly search WorldCat via all available indexes, instead of just OCLC number, to better identify the appropriate bibliographic record. We’ve also made enhancements that make related records easier to see.

To access the WorldCat Search API 2.0, both a FirstSearch/WorldCat Discovery subscription and OCLC Cataloging and Metadata subscription is needed, and existing customers can use their WorldCat Search API WSKeys. To access the WorldCat Metadata API, an OCLC Cataloging and Metadata subscription is needed.

Updates lay the foundation for the WorldCat Discovery API 2.0

Later this year, we will release the WorldCat Discovery API 2.0, which will enrich and optimize the end user search experience even more by including article results from the WorldCat Discovery central index. This new API will also include all the features needed to build a custom discovery layer, including, but not limited to, formatted citations, personalized lists, fulfillment links, search suggestions, and new titles. Community updates and events will be planned later this year.

To learn more about these API updates, view OCLC’s API documentation site, and contact devnet@oclc.org if you have any questions.

And if you’re attending Code4Lib 2021, check out our sessions:

  • Karen Coombs

    Karen Coombs

    Senior Product Analyst